The Brockville teen manslaughter case resumed Monday with both attorneys delivering their final submissions.
The now-15-year-old girl, accused of manslaughter in the death of Damian Sobieraj, 33, sat in the courtroom as her lawyer explained to the judge she pushed the Brockville man into the river because she was defending and protecting her friends.
Throughout the trial, witnesses testified that Sobieraj was walking his pug Rosie in Hardy Park on Sept. 13, 2018, when he approached a group of youths hitting trees with large branches to tell them to stop.
The verbal exchange turned physical when one of the brothers of the tree hitters ran in and pushed Sobreiaj in the chest, according to Crown attorney Allen Findlay.
The Crown argued that Sobieraj was then punched in the face, causing him to call 911.
“I’m going to follow you — you’re going to get arrested. You punched me,” said Sobieraj in his 911 call at 10:36 p.m. that night.
After the call to police, the group of around 12 youths scattered across the park; Sobieraj followed the group near the Brock Trail Boardwalk.
Many witnesses who testified said Sobieraj grabbed one youth by the shirt while remaining on the phone with police.
The call lost signal minutes after it was made. The Crown argued that between 10:36 p.m. and 10:38 p.m. the accused ran over and pushed him off the edge of the boardwalk.
When Sobieraj’s body was found the next day 16-feet below the surface, he was still grasping the phone in his hand, and the autopsy revealed internal bruising on his chest and back and a fat lip. Findlay argued that the bruising was caused by being struck with the branches, as the pathologist deemed that blunt force trauma would be the only logical reason. The pathologist also said the fat lip was caused by a punch.
As for the defence, attorney Francois Dulude argued that the accused was protecting and defending her friends after Sobieraj grabbed the teen’s shirt.
Findlay argued Sobieraj had the right to make a citizen’s arrest and detain someone committing a crime.
“It wasn’t in self-defence, it was in vengeance.”
Findlay then began rattling off what he believes the accused did.
“It’s a push into the St. Lawrence River after being hit with tree branches, it’s a push into the river with 11 others standing by, it’s a push into the river by someone who largely outweighs Sobieraj.”
The judge will now consider all of the evidence and will speak to her progress in mid-January. A decision date has yet to be set.